The hit PBS television series Downton Abbey and life in the Edwardian era provide the inspiration for a new exhibition at Bridgewater College titled “BC Goes Downton: Life Here and Across the Pond from 1900-1920.”
The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will run April 17 through June 1, on the lower floor of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library. During the school year the library is open Monday–Thursday from 7:45 a.m. until 1 a.m.; Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.; and Sunday from noon until 1 a.m.
Summer hours are Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
In the exhibition, the college gives a nod to the Edwardian era as portrayed in Downton Abbey, and moves forward to explore life in Bridgewater, as well. Three spheres of life are examined: those of a Bridgewater household, a Bridgewater College student and a World War I soldier. Edwardian and post-Edwardian items from the college’s Reuel B. Pritchett Museum, as well as archives and photographs from Bridgewater College Special Collections, will anchor the exhibition.
Artifacts on display include a set of regional calling cards and trade cards, a stoneware jug from the early Bridgewater College dining hall, Edwardian era china used in Bridgewater, vintage clothing, popular World War I sheet music and items carried by World War I soldiers.
Co-curating the exhibition with special collections librarian Stephanie Gardner are three Bridgewater students – Morgan Pendleton, a senior history major from Grottoes, Va.; Robyn Temple, a senior history major from Mechanicsville, Va.; and Charlotte McIntyre, a sophomore business administration major from Street, Md.
“We especially enjoyed connecting with early 20th century Bridgewater College students, administrators and faculty by viewing photographs of these people, reading about them in archived college publications and examining items that they owned and created,” said Gardner. “Many of us are Downton Abbey fans, and I think visitors will enjoy how the elegance of the Edwardian era is incorporated into this display.”